Meet Baroque Band

Founded in 2007 by British baroque violinist Garry Clarke, Baroque Band has rapidly established itself as one of America’s most exciting period-instrument orchestras.

Baroque Band 2012

Hailed by the Chicago Tribune in 2009 as one of the top ten most important happenings of the decade in Chicago classical music, and picked by the BBC Music Magazine as one of America’s foremost period-instrument ensembles, Baroque Band is now an established and celebrated part of Chicago’s cultural life.

In 2008, the orchestra was appointented the first-ever Resident Ensemble for Chicago’s WFMT classical radio station and has been Ensemble-in-Residence at the Music Institute of Chicago since the Band’s founding in 2007.

“an abundance of style, a crisp esprit de corps and a palpable affection for its repertory”
– Chicago Tribune

Founded in 2007 by British baroque violinist Garry Clarke, Baroque Band has rapidly established itself as an important member of Chicago’s musical community with regular performances in several Chicago venues, including downtown at Symphony Center. As Chicago’s period-instrument orchestra, it has been hailed by critics and audiences and has gained a reputation as one of the most exciting period-instrument ensembles in the United States.

In the summer of 2008, Baroque Band was named Resident Ensemble of WFMT Radio, giving audiences throughout the world the opportunity to hear the orchestra’s performances through live and recorded radio and internet broadcasts. Baroque Band is also Ensemble-in-Residence at the Music Institute of Chicago, where it offers educational programming as well as concerts.

During its first two seasons, Baroque Band gave more than 80 performances. In addition to its own subscription concerts, Baroque Band performed at the Ravinia Festival, on both the Sunday Salon Series and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series at Chicago’s Cultural Center, as part of the Byron Colby Barn Series, at Purdue University, and at the 2008 Madison Early Music Festival in Wisconsin. The orchestra also performed concerts as part of the 2008 and 2009 Chicago Latino Music Festival.

To commemorate the 250th year since Handel’s death, Baroque Band added to its regular 2008–2009 concert series three performances of Handel’s rarely heard “Dublin” Messiah – the original version of his masterpiece that was given at its premiere performance in Dublin in 1742. These performances were chosen by NewCity alongside concerts by Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, and Riccardo Muti and the CSO as one of the top five classical concerts of 2009.

In December 2009 Baroque Band was hailed by John von Rhein in the Chicago Tribune as one of the top ten most important developments in Chicago’s classical music scene for the decade.

Baroque Band is now an established and celebrated part of Chicago’s cultural life.

Alongside its own subscription series, including performances at Chicago’s Symphony Center, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Baroque Band has been featured at the Ravinia Festival (2009, 2010), Madison Early Music Festival (2008), American Bach Society conference (2010), Grinnell College (2009), Purdue University (2009), International Viola d’amore Conference (2010), Dame Myra Hess Concert Series (2008), and in collaboration with Chicago Opera Theater at the Harris Theater (2010).

Fanfare magazine says of Baroque Band’s debut recording of Biber’s Mensa Sonora, released on the Cedille Records label in 2010:

Baroque Band’s [recording] is the most successful in capturing the spirit of this unusual and innovative music…An excellent, urgently recommended debut disc.
~ Fanfare Magazine

Baroque Band Small EnsembleOur Mission:

  • To present the highest quality performances of baroque music using period instruments and historically informed performance techniques;
  • To inform and educate the public – locally, regionally, and nationally – about music from the baroque era;
  • To provide opportunities for students and musicians of all levels and ages to gain hands-on experience with period instruments and techniques; and
  • To serve as musical ambassadors for the City of Chicago.

The mission of Baroque Band is to enhance the quality of life for residents of Chicago, the surrounding area, and anywhere else we perform by bringing a fresh and innovative approach to live performances of baroque music, by introducing listeners to unfamiliar repertoire, and by providing opportunities for students of all levels and ages to gain hands-on experience with period instruments and techniques. We believe that diversity among musicians/artists, audiences, board members, and volunteers is a fundamental strength of ours as of any arts organization, and that our mission is enriched when we embrace diversity as a value and a practice.

We know that achieving diversity requires a commitment to inclusion that must be expressed in Baroque Band’s leadership, organizational culture, values, norms, and behaviors. Throughout our work, we will support diversity in all of its forms, including but not limited to age, disability status, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

Baroque Band will clearly state its commitment to diversity as a value and practice on its website and in printed concert programs, and will encourage current and potential donors and other supporters to embrace the same value and practice. The Baroque Band website will be measured against the Web Accessibility Initiative at minimum annually, and additionally when significant updates or changes are made.

Baroque Band concerts will be performed in accessible venues.

Baroque Band 2012